A Lesson In Humility – Lessons Learned From A Pretty Bad Training Session

Woke up pretty late today, having woken up at 10:34am, a good hour and a half later than I wanted to wake up.  So, I started my day off with a cup of coffee.  It’s funny, I only started drinking coffee very recently, not being able to do so before since coffee with regular milk disagrees with my stomach that bad.  The life of someone living with lactose intolerance.  Good thing for almond milk.  Sure, it does contain less protein than dairy milk, but it contains a bigger percentage of monosaturated fats.  Great for lots of other aspects of the body.

Because I didn’t necessarily feel the effects of the caffeine on my system I still took my preworkout like I normally would.  After arriving at the gym I made a small video rant on the bar I used for my last deadlift routine, pointing at the much better bar I was using instead.  For today’s 5/3/1 Shoulder day my planned lifts were 85lbs for 5, 95lbs for 3 and then 105lbs for a many reps as possible (AMRAP for short).  I got through it…but everything felt so much heavier, and by the time I was finished with my bicep curls I was shot, panting on the floor, my heart racing with anxiety.

In response to the video I posted on Instagram ranting about the bad bar a friend of mine that works at my gym responded, letting me know that the bar I used was in fact 55lbs, ten pounds heavier than expected – making every Overhead Press set a good ten to even twenty pounds heavier than it was supposed to be.  Well…that sure explains a lot!  And, as if things couldn’t get worse, I experienced numerous dizzy spells and light headedness following my Overhead Press sets.  Clearly this is brought on by my increased heart rate and I found my self on my hands and knees, breathing heavily, too many times.  It’s amazing that I even got through my weighted dips.  But of course there was a catch; I felt like I had no choice but to cut off my final set of 70lbs after the fourth rep, feeling that if I kept going I would’ve lost my grip and fallen, possibly wrecking both my shoulders for a long time.

So, since I want part of the site to focus on self improvement and learning from your mistakes I’d like to take a moment to share with you a lesson or two that I learned today:

First – and this should’ve been too obvious – never take preworkout if you drink coffee, even if you think you don’t necessarily feel the caffeine hitting you the way you would taking preworkout.  I feel very fortunate that I didn’t just pass out today because I honestly thought I was going to several times.  I had an issue with this more than six years ago that I actually do want to write an entire blog post about in the future.

Secondly, make sure you know the exact weight of all the bars in your gym.  I figured for sure that all the bars were 45lbs, being that I pretty much train in a commercial gym.  If you’re new to training understand now that just because most bars look the same doesn’t mean they weight the same.  In fact Skiba’s Gym over in Carteret, NJ has a few 65lb bars, which some Powerlifting federations use for the squatting portions of their competitions.  In fact, I squatted with the 65lb bar at my first comp back in May and, surprisingly, it felt pretty good.  Come to think of it, I might write a post on that too one day.

Finally, don’t ever let yourself become discouraged when something goes wrong.  It tends to happen all the time in all areas of fitness, not just Powerlifting.  It’s okay to be upset for a few seconds but after should start thinking about how to prevent it from ever happening again.  I find that helpful in preventing falling into a deep depression in the gym, I’d know because it happened to me too many times over the summer, costing me the motivation to do much afterward.

So what do I intend to do differently?  To start I plan on starting my Overhead Presses from a rack again as opposed to cleaning the bar from the ground, which I did for years.  Looking back on things I feel like cleaning the bar stopped it from staying in my palms, thus hindering a proper force transfer between my hands and the bar, making it harder than it should be for me to push the bar up after just a few reps.

I also plan to give all biceps work a break for now and replace it with dumbbell shoulder work.  I feel another issue I have is, while I have a decent amount shoulder/tricep strength, I lack appropriate muscle mass to help me push harder than I’m currently able to.  So, starting next week I plan to replace curls with three sets of Dumbbell Shoulder Presses.  Hopefully that will solve my current problem in time.

I’m looking to hit a Deadlift PR of 370lbs AMRAP this Tuesday night.  If I hit at least 3 reps my next calculated 1 RM will be 405.  Think I can do it?  Check back here either Tuesday night or Wednesday to find out.  Also, here’s my first video collage, covering today’s workout, my way of demonstrating that not all training days will be perfect.

Thanks for reading!



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